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Should I buy 15/16 Kastles without a demo if they're cheap?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

My problem is that I will be heading out to the Alps for my 5th consecutive season and everything is more expensive once you're there. I could do with replacing my skis, but the best prices are from here in the UK (or probably in the US if I didn't have to pay duty!) before I leave. Of course, this means that I'm buying blind. Have you done it? Did it work out, or not? How do you decide without a demo?

Here are the requisite answers to the standard questions:

 

1) Italy - most likely MonteRosa ski area. 

2) I love tearing it up on groomers, but I also like trees and messing about on the sides/off piste in up to a foot of fresh. I'd like to improve that skill this winter.

3) I will ski anywhere from 40 - 75 days this year.

4) I'm advanced after 4 straight seasons skiing upwards of 80 days a year up to now. Can ski most everything, but struggle with off piste & moguls. Definitely not expert. I generally improve quite a bit every season though.

5) I'm 5'11" & 170lbs.

 

If it means anything I'm 34 next month & only learnt at 30.

 

After learning the fast carving style in Sestriere (home of the 2006 Olympics) where there are no queues and no people, I progressed quickly from nervous to fast & aggressive. Starting out on Salomon 24hrs and Head Magnums in 165, I bought an ex-demo pair of 175 MX78s after reading on here for 300€. They pushed me, made me better & forced me to improve my technique drastically. They've been my only skis ever since. But they've seen better days and have been repaired multiple times. Whilst still amazing on piste, they don't allow for all the fun I want to have in the trees, off piste and on the sides.

Looking for something with my float & a little more all round ability without punishing me when chilling, I spent a day last season on a pair of 184 K2 Amp Rictor 90s. This was a revelation. They were just as quick as the Kastles, but more forgiving & floated better in the 6 inches we'd had over night. The edge hold felt almost as good, but whether it was the wider waste, my technique, or the design, they weren't 100% the equals of my skis in that department.

 

Back to the present day. I've found the Rictors with bindings for £456 ($700), but the same website offers ex-demo FX85HPs with bindings for £450!!!

Love my MX78s and every time I tried something else over the past 3 winters, it didn't match up. The Rictors were the only thing close. This winter I want to progress into the off piste a little more and perhaps a few more jumps and backwards skiing etc. So I think an FX would give me the flexibility I need without losing too much of what makes my MXs great.

Help please!! 

post #2 of 29

ummm, no don't buy the 85hp, please send me the link.....  :)  The 85 is a great ski, If you search around in the 2015 SIA reviews, there are some great comments from Segbrown regarding the new 85. I ski the "old" FX84 and absolutely love them.  Make sure you are buying the right length!  And if you do pass on them, please do send me the link...  :D

post #3 of 29

Hi,

 

My only comment would be about getting the right length, which may be hard without demoing. I purchased a set of FX95HP recently after demoing them, and have now skiied around 30 days on them. The one thing I noticed when demoing them is that they ski very short for the length, due to the front and rear rocker. You can't really compare them to the old FX94, as the lengths are different, and the 95HP definitely skis much shorter than the old 94. After demoing I ended up going a length longer than I initially thought I would. I didn't demo the FX85HP, but imagine the length issues would be similar.

post #4 of 29

the "old" 94 was 176, the new is 181, I would bet they ski very closely length-wise......

post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

Ok, so turns out it's not an HP, just a regular 85. So I guess that's a waste. Instead, there are MX88s at £542 ($830) without bindings.

In reality, I'm never gonna get another pair of Kastles on a budget, am I? :(

Are the Rictors something I should just buy?

Anything else worth looking at?

post #6 of 29

Tons of ski's in that range!  Look through the members review section. Kendo's, Motive 86's , New Head 88,--  From mid 80's to mid-90's or what are you looking for?  The Fischer Motive 95 is a superb ski that can be found in the states (you can most likely order from a Store called SIERRA TRADING POST) as leftovers for under $400 US.  

 

tell us what you want and watch the post count rise :D

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

Ok, so turns out it's not an HP, just a regular 85. So I guess that's a waste. Instead, there are MX88s at £542 ($830) without bindings.

In reality, I'm never gonna get another pair of Kastles on a budget, am I? :(

Are the Rictors something I should just buy?

Anything else worth looking at?

 

 

So what the regular FX85 might be a better ski.  At least in the 95 version I couldn't decide which I liked better...both were excellent.

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
 

 

 

So what the regular FX85 might be a better ski.  At least in the 95 version I couldn't decide which I liked better...both were excellent.

 

They probably are. But all the reviews (here & elsewhere) point to them being significantly softer than the outgoing series even with HP, so I can only imagine that a non-HP would be very soft snow biased. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

Tons of ski's in that range!  Look through the members review section. Kendo's, Motive 86's , New Head 88,--  From mid 80's to mid-90's or what are you looking for?  The Fischer Motive 95 is a superb ski that can be found in the states (you can most likely order from a Store called SIERRA TRADING POST) as leftovers for under $400 US.  

 

tell us what you want and watch the post count rise :D

 

Ok then!

I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

1) Better at floating in fresh snow as I want to expand my off piste experience this coming season.

2) Have a less aggressive tail allowing me to practice switch occasionally & be a little more playful in style.

3) Handle a wider range of conditions season long.

 

And as I paid $350 for my MX78s with bindings, my expectations have been ruined :p Ex-demo or 2nd hand is fine, but getting stuff from the US is bloody difficult here. I just thought that the FX85s were a great price & I'm the only person in Italy with Kastle skis and I'm a massive convert. 

Budget is top end around $750-800 including bindings, shipping & any applicable taxes.

 

What say you?! 

post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

 

They probably are. But all the reviews (here & elsewhere) point to them being significantly softer than the outgoing series even with HP, so I can only imagine that a non-HP would be very soft snow biased. 

 

 

Ok then!

I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

1) Better at floating in fresh snow as I want to expand my off piste experience this coming season.

2) Have a less aggressive tail allowing me to practice switch occasionally & be a little more playful in style.

3) Handle a wider range of conditions season long.

 

And as I paid $350 for my MX78s with bindings, my expectations have been ruined :p Ex-demo or 2nd hand is fine, but getting stuff from the US is bloody difficult here. I just thought that the FX85s were a great price & I'm the only person in Italy with Kastle skis and I'm a massive convert. 

Budget is top end around $750-800 including bindings, shipping & any applicable taxes.

 

What say you?! 

if that's your cruising speed then I cannot help you but lets see if we can find a info email address for the US ski team......

post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

if that's your cruising speed then I cannot help you but lets see if we can find a info email address for the US ski team......

 

Ha! I'm not American, so they wouldn't let me in :p

Regardless, that's not my cruising speed, but I regularly hit that on the men's & women's 2006 downhills last season. The Kastle's gave me the confidence & grip to really push it.

If my new ski can't go that fast safely, but offers all the other things & gets close, that's ok.

It's just that in Italy, there's much more focus on groomers than probably there is over there. So as much as I want to progress to other things this season, I'll probably still spend at least 60-70% of my time on groomers & I don't want to lose too much edge hold and stability versus the MXs. Make sense? 

 

p.s. I should make it clear that pistes in Italy are empty and it's often possible to go very fast and aggressive safely if you want. But most of the time I guess I'd probably average closer to 45/50mph if I'm enjoying a groomer.

post #11 of 29

well then, kastle MX88/98 Stockli 95 , Rossi 100 and just for kicks, Sali Qlab 183

post #12 of 29

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

Ok then!

I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

1) Better at floating in fresh snow as I want to expand my off piste experience this coming season.

2) Have a less aggressive tail allowing me to practice switch occasionally & be a little more playful in style.

3) Handle a wider range of conditions season long.

 

And as I paid $350 for my MX78s with bindings, my expectations have been ruined :p Ex-demo or 2nd hand is fine, but getting stuff from the US is bloody difficult here. I just thought that the FX85s were a great price & I'm the only person in Italy with Kastle skis and I'm a massive convert. 

Budget is top end around $750-800 including bindings, shipping & any applicable taxes.

 

What say you?! 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

Ok, so turns out it's not an HP, just a regular 85. So I guess that's a waste. Instead, there are MX88s at £542 ($830) without bindings.

In reality, I'm never gonna get another pair of Kastles on a budget, am I? :(

Are the Rictors something I should just buy?

Anything else worth looking at?

Given your requirement for grip when high speed cruizing, you should leave K2 Amp Rictors off the list.  They are a nice friendly ski and meet your other requirements, but won't turn you nearly hard enough at speed (tested 45 mph on small hill - will drift wide instead of making the desired turn).

 

Take a look at the RTM line from Volkl, if you don't mind a bit of early rise.

 

Any ski that I would recommend for hard charging would not have the more versatile fresh snow characteristics and less aggressive tail you want (although I did ski switch on my SGs quite a bunch when skiing with the wife and kids back in the day, so it can be done- with care!).

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

Any ski that I would recommend for hard charging would not have the more versatile fresh snow characteristics and less aggressive tail you want (although I did ski switch on my SGs quite a bunch when skiing with the wife and kids back in the day, so it can be done- with care!).

 

Thanks. I was under (possibly mistaken) impression that the FX line from Kastle was exactly what I'm after. Is that not the case?

Do I "need" 2 pairs of skis essentially?

post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post

 

Any ski that I would recommend for hard charging would not have the more versatile fresh snow characteristics and less aggressive tail you want (although I did ski switch on my SGs quite a bunch when skiing with the wife and kids back in the day, so it can be done- with care!).

 

Thanks. I was under (possibly mistaken) impression that the FX line from Kastle was exactly what I'm after. Is that not the case?

Do I "need" 2 pairs of skis essentially?

At least 2! :D

post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post


I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

1) Better at floating in fresh snow as I want to expand my off piste experience this coming season.

2) Have a less aggressive tail allowing me to practice switch occasionally & be a little more playful in style.

3) Handle a wider range of conditions season long.

 

What say you?! 

 

Not many rec ski can fulfill that simple requirement. May have to select from another class of skis.

My recommendation for your money - 

 

Atomic FIS Doubledeck SG M - 210 cm

 

pair that with a pair of X20 binding and you are all set to go.

 

I'm sure even @Ghost would approve of this set up.

post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

:eek So let's get this straight: In your own words, you struggle with off-piste or bumps, and you're definitely not an expert, but you claim you hit 65 mph.

 

I hope you're suffering from grade inflation. You realize that that's near the average speed for WC downhills, right? If you're skiing on open recreational slopes, I honestly pray they pull your ticket or better, pass. Because sooner or later you're gonna maim or kill someone. Could be you, for that matter. There's a reason racing courses have netting along the trees...

 

But let's assume that like most of us, you have a, umm, liberal sense of how fast you ski. GPS enhanced, no doubt. So you want a ski that will let you feel confident at whatever speed you're really going. In that case, yep, go buy a lightly used WC GS from last season, it should have plenty of edge left. If you're heavier, recommend Atomic or Head, if you're lighter, Rossignol or Volkl. These will handle anything you're good enough to give them, at least until the local patrol gets you, you get your jaw and nose broken by the friend or relative of someone you hit, or you blow out both your ACL's and try a different sport. ;) 

post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingGrump View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post


I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

1) Better at floating in fresh snow as I want to expand my off piste experience this coming season.

2) Have a less aggressive tail allowing me to practice switch occasionally & be a little more playful in style.

3) Handle a wider range of conditions season long.

 

What say you?! 

 

Not many rec ski can fulfill that simple requirement. May have to select from another class of skis.

My recommendation for your money - 

 

Atomic FIS Doubledeck SG M - 210 cm

 

pair that with a pair of X20 binding and you are all set to go.

 

I'm sure even @Ghost would approve of this set up.


Ha Ha, you forget I'm an old dog who likes full camber and long radii for ultra fast carving, and I've already got antique skis that have all of that.

If I had money to spend on skis and more trips to Tremblant and other large hills, these would be more to my liking:

http://www.fischersports.com/en/Alpine/Products/Skis/World-Cup/9316-RC4-Worldcup-SG-Men

http://www.fischersports.com/en/Alpine/Products/Skis/World-Cup/9314-RC4-Worldcup-DH-Men

 

However there is a big downside to high speed skis that you pay in bumps, steeps, soft snow, billygoating steeps that you can't straightline, in short anytime you can't open it up and ski at 50+ miles per hour, which is quite often. 

 

See you need at least two skis + a speed ski!

post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by beyond View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by okenobi View Post
 

I want something to replace my MX78s that will still let me carve at 65mph with confidence & grip, but will be:

:eek So let's get this straight: In your own words, you struggle with off-piste or bumps, and you're definitely not an expert, but you claim you hit 65 mph.

 

I hope you're suffering from grade inflation. You realize that that's near the average speed for WC downhills, right? If you're skiing on open recreational slopes, I honestly pray they pull your ticket or better, pass. Because sooner or later you're gonna maim or kill someone. Could be you, for that matter. There's a reason racing courses have netting along the trees...

 

But let's assume that like most of us, you have a, umm, liberal sense of how fast you ski. GPS enhanced, no doubt. So you want a ski that will let you feel confident at whatever speed you're really going. In that case, yep, go buy a lightly used WC GS from last season, it should have plenty of edge left. If you're heavier, recommend Atomic or Head, if you're lighter, Rossignol or Volkl. These will handle anything you're good enough to give them, at least until the local patrol gets you, you get your jaw and nose broken by the friend or relative of someone you hit, or you blow out both your ACL's and try a different sport. ;) 

"struggle with off-piste or bumps, and you're definitely not an expert, but you claim you hit 65 mph"  Me 40 years ago, LOL.  It doesn't take much skill to point a stable ski straight down the fall line and make just enough turns to stay on the run, just a little recklessness.

post #19 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost View Post
 

"struggle with off-piste or bumps, and you're definitely not an expert, but you claim you hit 65 mph"  Me 40 years ago, LOL.  It doesn't take much skill to point a stable ski straight down the fall line and make just enough turns to stay on the run, just a little recklessness.

I'm not just pointing a stable ski down the fall line.

 

I'm close to expert on groomers with solid GS technique after 4 years of practice.

In Italy, that's the prevailing style. So I've learned & polished that first. I only started skiing off piste & bumps last season, hence my comment. Mentioning the 65mph wasn't by way of a brag, just purely that the MXs are the only ski so far that gave me the confidence to up my speed & technique when arcing big turns at high speed. And I'm not sure I'm happy to have a ski that can't do that on occasion.

For context, the only people skiing off piste there are instructors or idiot Brits with no experience. Even then, they're not on anything wider than 85/90mm. Every hire shop contains carvers in the 14-16m radius with the occasion stiff Atomic or Volkl for racing. That's the culture. That's how I learnt.

 

I really want to branch out & I'm investigating working in a different area this year for the first time which will have less groomers and a lot more opportunity to play about on the sides, trees, bumps etc. 

I understand that in the US, speed is frowned upon & you have ski patrols etc. I only hit those speeds probably once a week when the Italians have yet to get out of bed. The standard of grooming is exceptional & I can't explain just how few people there are. When you learn to ski in a former Olympic town and the instructors push you to get a wider arc, more aggressive stance on Olympic downhill runs, that's what you do.

Equally, I often love to chill, cruise about, take some drops, ski the trees when there's 6" of fresh. 

I stated my requirements as I was asked to, because that's what my current skis allow. I'm 33, not 21 & a complete idiot.

post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 

Aside from possibly mis-representing myself, I really appreciate everybody's input and help.

It certainly sounds as though I either need more than 1 pair, or I have to be prepared to sacrifice some edge hold on piste. Unfortunately, as I'm probably on the smallest budget here and work as a guide/barman/hotel manager or whatever else is going every winter. So I can't afford 2 pairs of skis & I think my MXs will probably only manage another season under duress.

 

post #21 of 29

OK, all fair enough. A more reasonable description will usually get more reasonable responses. When I've skied Europe it's had about 4.7 million bumps on anything steep, the impeccable rolling groomers were mostly what we here would call blue or blue green runs with lotsa moving targets, uh, people. And I'm familiar with European's allergy to wider skis. I'd have it too if everything in sight were above treeline and groomed. 

 

Some points:

 

1) MX's are indeed very good at solid recreational speeds. The only other wider skis easily available over there I know that would be comparable would be Stocklis, Elans, or (I expect) the new model Head Monsters. 

 

2) But if you want to "branch out" and explore off-piste (which IMO is a major reason to ski once you've become good. If there's off-piste to be had) then you don't want a ski that will be solid as a rock at 65 mph. It will feel like said rock in the trees, too. 

 

3) So you may need to follow Ghost's advice, to a point. Meaning, eventually own some GS skis for your am speed runs. But for now, I'd say keep your 78's for that, and get something in the high 80's to mid 90's with a bit of flex might be the idea to pursue. Your budget doesn't allow for Kastles or Stocklis. Fischer Motive's or Rangers come to mind as very strong alternatives, or perhaps the new Volkls. Elans make some very nice skis in that width that also have some guts to them.

post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 

SUPER informative. Thank you!

 

If you're ever in Europe, come to Italy & I'll buy you a glass of excellent wine (or an average beer, if you prefer)!

The Europe you describe & that most Americans imagine, is called France ;)

All 3 points make sense, & I guess if I used the MXs less, they could probably stretch another season. So then I suppose I should go back to my OP. Are the non-HP 85s worth a go for such a ridiculous price (£450/$700) without a demo?

Or do I ship out, try a load of stuff & stomach the cost of buying from Italy & paying shipping...?

post #23 of 29

get 2 skis

http://www.powder7.com/Kastle-FX94-Skis-186cm-New-Flat-2015/for-sale

for your off-piste ventures and GS (better GS cheater aka master series) for your groomers

post #24 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oleg S View Post
 

get 2 skis

http://www.powder7.com/Kastle-FX94-Skis-186cm-New-Flat-2015/for-sale

for your off-piste ventures and GS (better GS cheater aka master series) for your groomers

Ooooh! Need to look into import duties and taxes.

Would the 176 not be a better fit for me though at 5'10"?

post #25 of 29

Yeah, if you are on a budget, get your off-piste, trees, bumps, soft snow ski, and keep your MX for on-piste and occasional off-piste use. 

Later, replace the MXs with a GS cheater.  

post #26 of 29

yeah but while he's not skiing at highway speeds (BTW, where's Highway Star when you need him??)  you say you only 30% off piste.  Thats why I suggest a MX. .  If you want more off piste a FX94 is an incredible ski and the 176 would be just fine.  At 65 mph, I would want something longer under my feet but if you can ski off-piste and bumps and keep to under 40, you should be just fine.. ;)

post #27 of 29
Thread Starter 

Then perhaps it's time for a change in style ;)

I'm determined to really explore more of the mountain this coming season. Clearly, nothing that will bring the kind of fun I want to get better at, will be as rock solid at speed as my MXs. I get that now. 

When you're expert skiers, as imagine you all are, an MX probably is great off piste. When you're advanced on piste, but on intermediate off, an MX doesn't have the float and isn't easygoing enough. 

Just the same as when I first learnt to ski, my MXs would've liked killed me.

Given the FX94s kindly linked will potentially cost £750 with bindings, shipping & duty. Are the ex-demo FX85s I originally mentioned worth a punt at almost half that or not?

post #28 of 29

The FX94's will serve you better in powder/loose above 4" or so and be more fun.  You won't really be giving up much.  The 85 (non-metal) may not be enough??  Hard to say since i didnt ski the new 85. .  It will be quicker in bumps and edge-to-edge.  As long as the snow is soft, the 94 is a top performing ski.  (good even on hardpack, just not as much fun as the 85)  I ski on the "old" FX84 and the FX94.  

 

@segbrown   can you comment on the 85 for him?   you skied my FX84's as well as both hp/ regular 85

post #29 of 29

I don't know... but the ski which is able to do 65 miles per hour on piste and also be good (not great) on off-piste is an unicorn.. (sorry to spoiled your day).

So, clearly 2 pairs, and Kastle is not the only company which does great skis... why not choose other as a master series ski (Head, Rossi, Volkl, Blizzard, etc) and for off-piste get some 90+ (105 is even better) softer ski; 2 skis probably would cost as much as 1 Kastle (new).

I am not against Kastle or Stockli, just these skis are not associated with word: budget

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